Author(s): Marc Lichterman

It’s the end of July. The community of Anaheim is outraged.  In separate incidents over the past few days, two unarmed men of color have been murdered by the police.  A round of public protests and police suppression of protests have followed. I have just returned to Southern California in the middle of this turmoil.   I make plans to meet with my affinity group and head to a rally at the Anaheim police station.

As someone who grew up in an activist household,... Read more.

Author(s): Vickie Aldrich

In September 2010, I received a letter from the IRS, which said that I had to pay a “frivolous filing penalty” of $5000 for my action of withholding some of the money I owed for my 2009 taxes. “We have determined that the purported tax return you sent is frivolous and your position has no basis in law.”  Frivolous. The word stuck in my mind.  Part of this journey is about words, about patience, about truth.  It gave me a sort of mantra that is precious to me now, “I didn't ask... Read more.

Author(s): Deborah J. Ross

I'm a surviving family member of a murder victim. I'd like to offer a few perspectives on what to say to victims of trauma.

Listen. Just listen. Don't try to fix the person or make it all right or recommend the latest hot therapies. There are no magic words, but there is magic silence. Trust that the presence of another human being, one who is listening deeply and compassionately, can be healing in itself.

Stay in touch with your own feelings. Use your... Read more.

Author(s): World War II Conscientious Objectors

Conversations with World War II Conscientious Objectors

In late October 1998, four WWII conscientious objectors and three of their partners visited the Yakima Valley Worship Group near Mount Rainier in Washington state for four hours of taped discussions about the impact of conscientious objection on their long lives.  Conversation participants were: Chuck Ludwig and Betty Haan Ludwig, Howard Scott and Ruane Scott, Julius Jahn and Hilda Skott, and Jim Hain.  The audio... Read more.

Author(s): Leah Bolger

Leah Bolger is a former National Board President of Veterans For Peace and continues to serve on the VFP board.  She is currently touring the U.S. to promote the work of VFP’s “Drones, Robots, and Future Weapons Working Group.”  Leah has worked with Quakers on many common causes over the years, and she spoke with Western Friend by phone on January 25, 2013.


Western Friend:  I know you’re on the road right now, talking about... Read more.

Author(s): Laura Magnani, Steve Smith

Dear Friends:

We write on behalf of Pacific Yearly Meeting’s M&O Subcommittee on Racial Justice to share our excitement about a unique opportunity—vibrant, challenging and nurturing—for Western Friends to immerse themselves in the vital work of racial healing and racial justice.  We on the subcommittee have found this work to be immensely rewarding, yet our efforts have been modest.  We are delighted to discover a vast venue for this work, close at hand:

Imagine... Read more.

Author(s): Shane Piccinini

Dear Western Friend,

I am a war tax resister.  After careful consideration, and prayerful meditation, my conscience could no longer allow me to pay for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.  For me, paying for war has become an immoral, unethical act.  At a time when social safety nets for the downtrodden and under privileged are being unraveled - with more Americans becoming homeless and hungry - it has become increasingly clear for me that this spending is... Read more.

Author(s): David Austin

The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by Brian Castner

Review by David Austin

Brian Castner died in Iraq.  We know because he tells us so on page 157 of his memoir, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows.

“The old me left for Iraq and never came home.  The man my wife married never came home.  The father of my oldest three children never came home.  If I didn’t die, I don’t know what else to call... Read more.

Author(s): Forrest Curo

Waging Peace: Discipline and Practice (Pendle Hill Pamphlet 420) by Pamela Haines, reviewed by Forrest Curo of San Diego Friends Meeting

Overall, this little “how to guide” offers considerable wisdom from a woman actively waging peace in multiple contexts and levels.  I liked several of her ideas and found all of them worth a second thought.  The recurring theme that gives a common focus to this assortment of examples is the healing power of attention.

The... Read more.

Author(s): Diana Forsythe

Perhaps because unprogrammed Friends have neither ministers nor formal worship services, people who are new to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) sometimes have the impression that our worship has no structure at all.  This impression is incorrect.  We Friends see ourselves as led by the Spirit, and we have quite a few customs, rules, and procedures that are important to us because they help us to “hear” both the Spirit and each other.  We seldom explain why we do things the way we... Read more.


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